Trying to expand on the empty “liberal groups got targeted too” line, and with the administration embarrassed by the spectacle of an IRS official demanding immunity to appear before Congress, a front page New York Times report on Friday tries a new angle to pretend there was no political agenda behind the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups as President Obama sought re-election.
This time around, the theme likely to be picked up by other administration sympathizers is: the IRS procedures – including the now-notorious “be on the lookout lists” – are so “ham-handed or overly rigid” that just about any group that seeks tax-exempt status gets handled badly if its name includes red-flag wording.
The story, “IRS Scrutiny Went Beyond the Political,” starts with a pro-Palestinian group called Minnesota Break the Bonds and IRS suspicions of its application for tax-exempt status. That’s all of a piece with the “they targeted liberals too” line.
But The Times then ropes in groups with the words “open source software” in their names as being automatically listed for heightened scrutiny because, though they presented themselves as non-profit groups dedicated to spreading the benefits of free technology to the masses, the IRS routinely suspected they were masking for-profit companies under altruistic-sounding names.
In other words, the IRS was alert for Internet scams! How ham-fisted can you get?
Naturally, The Times has no problem lining up a Democrat voice to amplify the point.
“We replaced the leadership of the I.R.S. over this … And we have damaged the president,” Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., says. “It turns out this has been a gross distortion of reality.”
With seeming disbelief, The Times notes, “Even with the narrative muddied, most Republicans see no reason to back off.”
That’s because there hasn’t been a gross distortion of reality by anyone but the IRS Democrat defenders. And the narrative isn’t muddied, despite the best efforts of liberal mouthpieces like The Times and MSNBC.
The reality is the IRS deliberately and systematically targeted conservative groups for political harassment that limited their effectiveness opposing the president. We know this because the woman in charge of it admitted it and publicly apologized for it. That’s the same woman who now wants immunity to testify.
And if Lois Lerner’s lawyer can work out a deal with the House Republicans who aren’t backing off, it will be as proven as a crime against the constitution can be.
Good luck to The Times and the Democrats trying to spin that away.
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